Art Education
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Want to become a professional artist, or to teach art? Then the Art program at Siena Heights is the right choice. The Art program offers Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Fine Art degrees. The BA is a strong liberal arts degree well-suited for students interested in combining the visual arts with other disciplines such as psychology, literature, or business. The BFA is an intensive studio program intended for students interested in pursuing either graduate school in art or art history or professional and/or studio careers.

Other degrees offered include the Bachelor of Art degree major in Art with Visual Arts Education K-12 certification, the Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Art History, the Art minor and the Art History minor.

The Art program is a member in good standing of the National Schools of Art and Design, the only national accreditation agency for art, since 1988. The Art program's primary goal is to develop the visual artist. Students are encouraged to take risks, speculate, explore, research, create and pursue artworks of quality. Students are asked to deal in materials and in ideas, to explore past perceptions of the world of art and their interior and exterior worlds of imagination and values. These expectations call for a commitment to study, a disciplined approach to work and a willingness to integrate personal and cultural identities in their artwork.

Studio Angelico, the name of the building that houses the Art Program at Siena Heights University, has been a center for art and art education for more than 60 years. Named for Fra Angelico, the Renaissance painter of the Dominican Order who lived in 15th century Florence, the Studio continues a long tradition of valuing quality, creativity, craftsmanship, and reflection in the making of art.

Schedule and Gallery information can be found at the Studio Angelico website  New Window

NOTE: Siena Heights has an articulation agreement with Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio, leading to acceptance into the Masters Program in Art Therapy.

Art Program Mission Statement:
Studio Angelico, a community of artists and educators, stimulates, challenges, supports and educates students to become: educated viewers with visual literacy and critical thinking, professional artists with technical and creative direction, thoughtful and responsible citizens in a global community. We seek through dialogue and practice to work together within a liberal arts context to appreciate, understand and communicate the diversity and complexity of the human experience as expressed through the visual arts.

  • THE SIENA EFFECT: Art Education

Meet Jason Sanderson, Class of 1992

Jason Sanderson 

Major: Art
What Jason is Doing: Art teacher at Temperance (Mich.) Bedford High School

Jason Sanderson has taught high school art for more than 20 years. But what the Siena Heights graduate really teaches is passion.

“It’s just about passion, and that’s why I really feel like I need to be engaged with (my students) as much as possible,” he said. “It’s just so rewarding because the kids know that I’m passionate about what I’m doing. And if I’m passionate about what I’m doing, it’s going to transfer.”

That passion has transferred not only to his students, but to the entire Temperance Bedford High School district, where he began his full-time teaching career in 1994. In a time where public education is cutting programs like art and music, Bedford’s has actually expanded. 

“You’ve got to make it viable,” Sanderson of art. “You’ve got to make it important and mean something. … It’s about choices. This is a kid’s baseball (scholarship). This is a kid’s 32 on his ACT. This is their chance. I’m all about choices, and I don’t ever want my kids to put their eggs in one basket.”

Serving as part guidance counselor, part career coach, he takes an active role with his students and their families in finding the “best fit” in a college or university.

“The kids who leave my program are just so much better prepared to make that next step,” Sanderson said. “And most important, they know that the next step is the right one for them.”

Sanderson doesn’t stop teaching once the school day ends. On most Wednesday afternoons for more than a decade, he drives a group of his students to a professional studio in downtown Toledo, Ohio, to participate in a life drawing class.

“Going down there makes me a better art teacher because I learn new ways of drawing,” Sanderson said of the after-school activity. “For the students, it sets them apart. It’s saying to a prospective school like Siena, ‘I’m serious. I’m doing these things on my own.’ ”

Students also get a chance to work with other professional artists, including Sanderson, at his Summit Street Studios in downtown Toledo. He said he often takes students to his studio to work on their drawing.

“What’s neat about it is I take kids down there and you can draw and paint at a much more intense and relaxed level,” Sanderson said. “They can do a drawing of a person sitting in a chair uninterrupted. I give them their own studio experience. It gives them a chance to say, ‘Yeah, I work in a studio.’ It’s a shared experience.”

He said his Siena Heights education has influenced – and continues to inspire – his teaching career.

“One of the things that was so cool about my experience (at Siena), was it seemed like a lot of things are interconnected,” said Sanderson, referring to Siena’s liberal arts core. “I’d be taking an English class and an education course and something at Studio Angelico, and there would be an undercurrent, I could see a connectedness. That’s the advantage (at Siena).”

In fact, he brings prospective students up to SHU’s Promising Artists Day every chance he gets, and credits Siena’s mission as one of his “pillars.”

“The things we’re doing in my class (are) an inspiration from more of what I did at Siena,” he said. “I’m taking things at the level I was doing them in college and bringing them to the high school. … I know my purpose. I know I’m competent at what I’m doing and how I impart that to kids.

“The classroom is a fountain of youth. There’s never a dull moment. I’m all in.”

Additional Info


  • Bachelor of Arts


Meet Siena

Faculty & Staff

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Peter Barr, Ph.D.

Professor of Art History


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Jason Sanderson '92

Art Graduate; High School Art Teacher
Contact Us at (800) 521-0009.
Siena Heights University Main Campus. 1247 E. Siena Heights Dr. Adrian, MI 49221.